A few minutes into the wee hours of my birthday, the three bears came calling and Cathy managed to take this picture of one of the youngsters snacking on the box of gourds left on the deck. Rich had met with the local wildlife officer two days ago about our resident family of bears and he commented that we were quite fortunate to have them around the place and to just be careful not to leave food out. He said they are basically quite timid and any noise or light from us will startle them off and in the meantime we can enjoy their busy industry of eradicating nuisance insects like ground hornets, which we certainly do. I guess I didn’t consider that they would find ornamental gourds a tasty antipasto. Rich also didn’t consider asking the game warden if he would come by a couple of times a week to clean up after mama and her two children but, in any case, we are leaving them be and we like the idea that they, too, find this a welcoming place.
(After a weepy start, the day was glorious and I celebrated in style, including filling the feeders.)
I woke up way too early, all weepy and what have you. Sixty seems like a turning point where now it is a race to try to fit in everything you want to do before it’s too late. I remember being 24 and feeling as though there was a whole world in front of me, with endless possibilities. I don’t usually pay birthdays much mind; today started out as a tough one. Rich rolled over and wished me a happy birthday and handed me a gift he must have held in his hand all night just waiting to give. This was big since he shows his love consistently but not especially so on holidays. It was also significant because I’m not one for jewelry all that much (e.g. I don’t wear, or have and never wanted any ring beyond my simple plain gold band.) And, Italy was more than enough gift for anyone. This morning, before daylight, he gave me a beautiful amber and pearl necklace, the stones wrapped irregularly as in nature in delicate silver. It’s a fine piece of amber, prehistoric (I guess that’s fitting), the solitary mother of pearl is pristine and I love it so much that I began weeping all the more. We have house guests so it was too early to get up and rattle around; instead I had 2 ounces of white wine and a chocolate chip cookie, sniffled a bit more and curled up for one more sweet nap with Rich and the kitties.
Once we were all up, Rich took me and Kristen and Cathy to brunch and then he headed off to Florida with McCloud. That was bittersweet in more ways than one. His baseball season with the “Boys of Winter” and the Half Century League has their season opener tomorrow and he was as excited as an eight year old and eager to get on the field with his teammates. The decision to split up the cats and for him to take McCloud was tough but Cloudy has been having a rough go of it and in the end it was the sensible thing to do. He has that elderly feline renal failure syndrome and twice in the past month he’s chosen the corner of the bedroom carpet rather than the litter box. He loves Florida, especially sleeping on the covered outdoor porch sofa and it’s a quiet safe place for him to spend a lot of time outside but barely so. It also seems like an important time for Rich and his cat to be together so off they went. I’ll see Rich for four intervals in November and December- twice I go down for 4 days to teach and twice he’ll be back for weeklong holidays; still, it’s back to a fair amount of time apart. We each need to tend to our own work and he definitely needs the outlet of his baseball season while I need to actually have a season- in this case, a glorious autumn into winter here on the mountain.
Today was the most perfect example of glorious autumn. Through the afternoon, Cathy and Kristen and I sat in the warmth of the sun on the deck, spinning and knitting and putzing about the garden. Sophie was happy to join me for a couple of hours, alternately leading and following.
Late afternoon, we finally gathered up all the wool and fiber that had been gathering about the place and tidied up and then those two put together a lovely birthday supper for us and three friends from here in Sugar Hollow. We had a fire outside and started with parmesan reggiano brought back from Italy, sweet roasted baby orange peppers from the garden and fine Italian olive oil.
We had killer shrimp and an Asian slaw salad and a hearty loaf of bread and finished up with a dessert tray of tiramisu, pot de creme chocolate, pumpkin creme brulee and orange flavored dark chocolate cake.
In the past, I’ve marked the passage of each decade by taking a photo of myself au naturale. Well, one year I wore a crown of autumn leaves made by BCMA friend, Marcy. Today with all the frisky female camaraderie I was tempted to take and post another bold self-portrait but I guess there’s an age limit on that kind of thing, yes? So this year, I took the photo; I just won’t post it. I might send it to my friend. Mary who is spunky enough in her own right and gets great vicarious pleasure out of acting out behavior of others. (In a recent post Cathy had a bit that said “I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.” Sounds right.)
Today, I counted my blessings once again and at some point I said “I certainly did nothing in this lifetime to deserve all this” meaning the gifts of love and family and friendship (and a Cheese of the Month membership from Abby- ha!) and Cathy said, “that’s called Grace.”